Congo Odyssey, Day Four: For Short Distances, Dugout Canoes Can't Be Beat

canoe on the Congo River

Expert dugout canoeists -- villagers on the Congo River use the dugout as their main means of transport on the water. Jonathan Blakley/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Jonathan Blakley/NPR

The easiest way to move up and down the Congo River for short distances is on long, hand-crafted wooden dugout canoes. They are ubiquitous on the water — with women, men and children expertly poling and paddling.

From faraway, the dugouts look languid and slow moving, but those poling often move at quite a speed to catch up with the barge.

  • Playlist
  • Embed
    <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton, multitasking -- and trying to keep her balance.

My dugout experiences on the Congo were all a little precarious; trying to hold a microphone and speak into it, while squatting so I didn't get tipped over into the river...  She concludes that it's all part of the discovery and adventure on the Congo River!



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from